While most of the tourists visiting Killarney may only possess a passing knowledge of and love for history, it can’t be denied that relics of our past can be enchanting, astonishing and often times baffling. Killarney is so renowned for its natural physical features that it’s often forgotten that underneath her mountains, in her forests and by her lakes a rich history exists . With this in mind I think it’s about time I discussed Inisfallen Island and why you should pay it a visit.
The island is important because on it lies an old monastery. Like, very old. Inisfallen Abbey was built in the 7th century back when Ireland was known as the land of “saints and scholars”. Now we’re known as the land of “bailouts and robbers”. Times change.
The monastery was used for 850 years and loads of things happened in that time. But I’ll just mention two of them because I don’t want to bore you and I have a word count to worry about. Brian Boru, High King of Ireland and slayer of the vikings, is said to have been educated on this very island. And between the 12th century and 15th century, the much lauded Annals of Inisfallen were written in the Abbey, detailing the early history of medieval Ireland. Like all of our good things the English stole the annals and they are now kept in Bodleian Library in Oxford. The Abbey was repossessed by Queen Elizabeth I in 1594 (See what I mean about the English robbing our stuff).
Anyway, you can still see the Abbey, or, well, the ruins of the abbey. Another wonderful thing about Inisfallen Island is that it’s plonked in the middle of Lough Leane, Killarney’s largest lake, so you can enjoy the historic antiquities whilst still being very much in the presence of majestic scenery.
Boats leave Ross Castle most days of the week over to the island. Head down yourself to find out the exact times. I would tell you here but I can’t find them online… My profuse apologies. But do head down there, it’s well worth it!